What is your plan to keep energy in Kentucky affordable and reliable?
The key to ensuring Kentucky’s energy needs are met is to create and maintain a diverse mix of energy technologies. Renewable output should be increased, but fossil fuels, especially clean coal technology, must remain part a key part of our energy mix. A robust, all-of-the-above energy mix allows Kentucky to adapt more easily to future technological developments as well as changing market conditions.
Do you believe the final rule of the Clean Power Plan should be implemented, and if not, what changes do you think should be made?
Kentuckians have been mining coal for generations, and mining jobs provide an enormous benefit to the entire state’s economy. However, given the overwhelming body of evidence supporting climate change, we must move to address the issue, but a responsible, evidence-based climate policy should not come at the cost of economic growth. Any policy imposing new costs on the coal industry should include offsets in the form of funding for clean coal technology and infrastructure in coal-producing communities. Coal is an affordable and reliable power source, and with judicious investments it can be the bridge to our future.
What role should the federal government have in helping areas of rural Kentucky adversely affected by the decline in coal mining?
We need to implement policies that will create economic growth in Coal Country. I support improving access to Eastern Kentucky by transforming the Hal Rogers parkway into a true interstate highway and upgrading the Mountain Parkway into a four-lane highway. I also support investment in high-speed Internet, which is the highway of the future. If elected I will support investing in workforce development and incentivizing business growth through targeted tax incentives in areas affected by the coal downturn. As your senator I will fight for expanded energy sector pilot projects and funding for Carbon Capture and Storage. We should also make use of existing funds, leaving no stone unturned.
How else would you promote economic and educational development in rural Kentucky?
My top priority is to grow the economy and make sure it works for all of us. To do this, we should make strategic investments in public education and infrastructure. Kentucky’s roads and bridges received a D from the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the state of our infrastructure makes it harder for businesses to move their products and employees around the state. This should be supplemented by further investments in high-speed broadband infrastructure, to create the highway system of tomorrow.